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Outspoken teacher gets walking papers; supporters charge retaliation

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Delivering the news to nontenured teachers that they’re not coming back in the fall is one of the last tasks on a principal’s end-of-year to-do list. June 15 is the deadline to inform teachers whose contracts will not be renewed.

By the end of last week, 33 nontenured teachers had gotten the ax. Fifty-five such contracts were not renewed last year. This number doesn’t include outright firings, retirements, resignations or those who lose their jobs due to funding cuts, nor does it reflect administrative transfers. Nontenured teachers have no appeal rights.

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Whiteside sentence leaves victim’s family ‘a certain kind of peace’

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Five years and eight months after Troy Whiteside shot the unarmed Stacey Sudderth 13 times in an East Knoxville parking lot and claimed self-defense, he was clapped into handcuffs and led off to jail to await transport to state prison.

If there are any positives he can take from a stay in Knox County’s Roger G. Wilson Detention Center, it may be his opportunity to spend quality time with an old friend and former boss, ex-trustee Mike Lowe, who is doing seven months for offenses that include paying “phantom” employees, several under the same job title as Whiteside, who worked as an outside auditor/delinquent tax collector from 2000 to 2004 before striking it rich in Oak Ridge as a contractor with the federal government.

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Republicans shine at fundraiser

Sandra Clark
Editor

Republicans rule. You knew it when you read eight featured speakers on the program at the Union County Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner. Thank goodness for the roast beef and mashed potatoes from Anderson Farms Catering from Corryton.

On a night of much bull, Anderson’s was the best.

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Catching up with the Rukeysers

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Two weeks ago having dinner with Joan and our daughter, Martha, at Ichiban Asian Cuisine restaurant on Northshore Drive, I saw longtime friends Bill and Elizabeth Rukeyser dining three tables away (their granddaughter is a server at Ichiban). Elizabeth Rukeyser was commissioner of mental health under Gov. Don Sundquist. The Rukeysers live on Rudder Lane in West Knox County.

Going over to their table, I learned that Elizabeth, 71, was in Nepal almost in the center of the earthquake on April 25 after having completed a nine-day trek with her daughter Lisa Burn in the Annapurna region. And what a story she had to tell. She was perhaps the only Knoxvillian to be in Pokhara when the earthquake occurred.

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New hope for old homes

Wendy Smith
Government/Politics columnist

Last Tuesday was a dark day for historic preservation in Knoxville, but at least it had a silver lining.

The Christenberry House at 3222 Kingston Pike was torn down by new owners John and Paula Chesworth, who say it would’ve been too expensive to restore the home after a decade of neglect. The loss of the 1914 Craftsman leaves a gap in a row of historic homes that includes Crescent Bend, the H.L. Dulin House and Bleak House.

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Right place, right time

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

Around these parts most folks who know about our Great Smoky Mountain National Park are familiar with the tremendous role the Civilian Conservation Corps played in its development.

Some 4,000 young men showed up just as the Park was authorized for development. Living in 17 army-supervised camps, they built the infrastructure- roads, bridges, buildings, trails. They literally made the Park what it is today. They were in the right place at the right time, both for them, and now 80 years later, for us as we use the park in the present day.

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Knox racing hero takes ‘last lap’

Bill Dockery
Features columnist

Memorial Day on Monday marked the day 81 years ago when Knoxville lost one of its first national sports heroes in an accident at the Indianapolis Speedway.

A.J. “Pete” Kreis was practicing for the annual May 30 Indy 500 in 1934 when his racer went out of control in the first turn and topped the wall of the track at close to 100 miles per hour, killing Kreis and his ride-along mechanic, Bob Hahn.

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